Mcgar­rity ready for ti­tle de­fence

New cham­pi­onships should help re­fresh BTRDA se­ries struc­ture

Motor Sport News - - Rally News -

Six-time cham­pion Derek Mcgar­rity will be­gin the de­fence of his Mcgrady In­sur­ance North­ern Ire­land Rally Cham­pi­onship ti­tle at Kirk­istown Cir­cuit in County Down this week­end.

Mcgar­rity will drive the same DMACKliv­er­ied Ford Fi­esta RS World Rally Car that he took to vic­tory at the same venue al­most a month ago when he won the New Year Stages by 13 sec­onds.

“The plan is to do the whole cham­pi­onship,” the com­pe­ti­tion’s most suc­cess­ful driver said. “The ral­lies suit my bud­get and they don’t re­quire me to take too much time off work.”

His Fi­esta has only just re­turned from M-sport in Cum­bria where en­gi­neers made a se­ries of tweaks to the car’s set-up, in­clud­ing to its ECU af­ter Mcgar­rity no­ticed it was mis­fir­ing when in fourth gear.

“It feels a lot bet­ter now, I’m happy with it,” he said. “Un­for­tu­nately, we didn’t do last week­end’s Gal­way In­ter­na­tional Rally.

“I was hop­ing to close a spon­sor­ship deal for the rally but it didn’t work out in time sadly.”

The or­gan­is­ing North Ar­magh Mo­tor Club will run six stages from 0930hrs on Satur­day, with a se­ries of small changes from pre­vi­ous years help­ing to in­crease the to­tal com­pet­i­tive dis­tance to al­most 30 miles.

Two new cham­pi­onships join the BTRDA in 2016, with two-wheel-drive hatch­backs com­ing to the fore.

First off, the DMACK Fi­esta ST Tro­phy – for the M-sport-built Group N-spec cars – has been spawned from the Copart Tro­phy which ran for Rally GB last year. With the car reach­ing the end of its 10-year ho­molo­ga­tion pe­riod it’s no longer el­i­gi­ble for in­ter­na­tional events. The Copart Tro­phy of­fered a test in a mod­ern R2T Fi­esta for the win­ner.

Now the man be­hind the Gb-based tro­phy – John Pritchard – has started the ST Tro­phy for the cars to run in, with prizes by DMACK. The win­ner of the se­ries will get the chance to com­pete for a drive in the DMACK Tro­phy in 2017, which sup­ports the WRC on five rounds and is gen­er­ally ac­cepted as the best form of Ju­nior ral­ly­ing in the world cham­pi­onship. Ju­nior 1000 cham­pion Ge­orge Le­p­ley and Next Big Step win­ner Sam Bilham are among the en­tries to the tro­phy, with a com­pet­i­tive year ahead.

The se­cond FWD se­ries to join the BTRDA is the 205 Cup, for the Peu­geot cars which have launched the ca­reers of many driv­ers in the past. The cup is for his­toric-spec 205s, but hasn’t ob­tained the up­take bosses would have liked, with only three 205s ap­pear­ing.

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